The government should promote the use of locally developed software and ICT services in all government offices to help the sector flourish, Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) said yesterday.
In the next national budget, the government should also allocate at least 5 percent of the 'digitisation fund' especially for software and ICT services, the association said.
The country's leading platform for software and information services made the call at a meeting with Finance Minister AMA Muhith at his office in the capital.
The minister assured the BASIS leaders of working on the issue, Farhana A Rahman, senior vice president of the association, said after the meeting.
The government has allocated Tk 9,242 crore to specifically ensure digital services for citizens through the implementation of 76 projects in the current fiscal year. The figure was Tk 5,765 crore in 2016-17.
The association sought measures so the exporters do not face difficulties in getting 20 percent cash incentive on exports of software and ICT services.
They also wanted the process of getting a tax exemption certificate to be simplified and urged the revenue authority to withdraw all kinds of charges—including value added tax—on the use of internet.
A 15 percent VAT is imposed on broadband internet connections while the rate is 21.75 percent for internet use through mobile phones thanks to VAT, supplementary duty and surcharge.
Earlier, the Association of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh also demanded that the use of internet be made VAT-free.
BASIS also urged the finance minister to exempt the start-ups for the first three years from submission of tax returns.